Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla says her nation, Mexico and Colombia have opened talks with U.S. officials to prepare for the legalization of marijuana in some U.S. states.

She said in an Associated Press interview that the Central American nations worry about what the effect that legalization in some U.S. states will have on the battle against international drug cartels.

Chinchilla says the drug cartels that have become entrenched in Mexico "pose a very important menace to our country" and U.S. cooperation is needed because it is a huge consumer of those drugs.

She also says "it's very hard to pretend that they are going to disappear. What is happening is that they move from one country to another."